A mining colony on the moon. A teen sent on a deadly mission. And a secret bigger than two worlds. It’s the 22nd Century. A tough, pioneering people mine the moon for Helium-3 to produce energy for a desperate, war-torn Earth. Sixteen-year old Crater Trueblood loves his job as a Helium-3 miner. But when he saves a fellow miner, his life changes forever. Impressed by his heroism, the owner of the mine orders Crater to undertake a dangerous mission. Crater doubts himself, but has no choice. He must go. With the help of Maria, the mine owner’s frustrating but gorgeous granddaughter, and his gillie - a sentient and sometimes insubordinate clump of slime mold cells - Crater must fight both human and subhuman enemies. He’ll battle his way across a thousand miles of deadly lunar terrain and face genetically altered super warriors in his quest to recover an astonishing object that will alter the lives of everyone on the moon.
©2012 Homer Hickam (P)2012 Oasis
I purchased Crater expecting a fun space adventure and a step away from the norm for me. It may have been a change of pace for me but it was boring. I had to push myself through this book and contemplated giving up several times. I don’t even know where to begin. It lacked direction, good characters, and life in general. On top of that, the moon was a dismal setting and the author provided zero description to make it an intriguing place. I think this book might have been meant for younger children as the story was childish and at times cheesy. However, I don’t see how middle school aged kid would even have the attention span to read this book.
The moon also holds a valuable resource, Helium 3, and as a result Earth colonies and mining centers have been established to tap into this profitable resource. Crater Trueblood is an orphan boy who works on one of the moon mines and for the most part is content with his life. Keeping him company is an intelligent slime mold creature (Gillie), the only thing his parents left him, and a friend named Petro, who often times isn’t a very good friend to Crater. Crater gets called to the office of the Commander and is sent on a mission to protect some precious cargo on a caravan across the moon. Little does Crater know that the Commander picked him specifically for the mission because he wanted someone naive. Crater gets thrown into a lot of dangerous situations but with the help of the Gillie and his charm he manages to find a way through them all.
Let’s start with Crater. He is honest and nice but naive. He’s so naive that everyone around him gets frustrated by his innocence. He’s clearly the hero from the beginning because he’s always out to help others and work as hard as he can. He also likes to work hard even if people are taking advantage of him and is content to and gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, even when they are holding him at gunpoint. For me Crater was so likeable, he was hard to like. Too good. Too nice. Too innocent. My eyes rolled every time he opened his mouth. I like main characters that have a few flaws and a little bit of an edge. He grew a little bit of spine at the end of the book but I was so tired of him by that point that I just wasn’t impressed.
Next let’s talk about the story. I think the author was going for a space western as he threw in a lot of cowboy and western themes. There was a town sheriff, a space horse, guns, bandits, natives, and more. The space cowboy theme has been done a lot and it felt a little cliche. My least favorite thing about the story was the lack of direction. I really had no idea why anything was happening. I thought things would come together in the end but it just left me wondering what was the point of the rest of the book. For example, Crater is assigned to protect a package. A lot of people are trying to get their hands on this package and on previous missions people have died in protection of it. You don’t find out what the package is until the end, which is fine, but the package ends up being nothing special. A lot of hype for nothing and I just didn’t get the point.
Overall, this book didn’t excite me at all. I gave it a chance again and again but it failed to keep me interested. I also listened to the audiobook, which I don’t recommend. The way the narrator performed the characters’ voices was irritating. If you want to read this book, definitely get the book over the audiobook. Keep in mind some people have given Crater some good reviews so you should take those into consideration if you are thinking about reading this book. As for me, I won’t be reading the next books in this series.
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